Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wednesdays at Rickshaw Stop!

Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!

Nerd Nite SF #144: Virtual Sex, Psychedelic Drugs, and the Philosophy of War

It’s Hot Nerd Summer and we’re playing the hits! We’re bringing the traditional trifecta of “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll” into the modern age with sexuality in video games, re-matriation of psychedelics, and the real life inspiration behind the darkly comedic film “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” It’s going to be a wild ride, and where else would you rather beat the summer heat?

Tickets Here!

“Virtual Intercourse is Real: Sexuality in Video Games Part 2”
By: Mark Shteller

Come join us on another wild journey through the world of video games and sex. We’ll do a deep exploration of simulated intimacy in Virtual Reality, dive straight into the caves of anime games, and have a hard and long look at the hottest daddies in gaming.

Mark Shteller is the founder and director of the queer game company Diamond Dust Games. With their first commercial title, Neon Death Drop aims to create a queer revolution in gaming.
Mark has been a game developer for over 10 years, spent 3 years working at Meta Reality Labs creating future looking prototypes for AR and VR devices. Kickstarter campaign launching soon, follow for updates!

“From Patriarchy to Matriarchy: Psychedelics and the Feminine Wisdom”

By: Kristina Soriano

Ever wondered how the transition from patriarchal to matriarchal values could shape the psychedelic space? Join Kristina Soriano for a mind-expanding journey through the role of feminine wisdom in psychedelics. Learn about the transformative power of women and elders, dive into the legacy of pioneers like Ann Shulgin and Laura Huxley, and discover the groundbreaking work of the Women’s Visionary Council. Plus, hear firsthand experiences from Kristina’s recent dieta retreat in Pucallpa. Prepare for an evening filled with insights, inspiration, and a dash of humor!

Kristina Soriano is a Texan-born Filipina who has called San Francisco home since 2005. With a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, she is dedicated to advancing psychedelic advocacy through her work with the Women’s Visionary Council and the Psychedelic Literacy Fund, which she co-founded to translate psychedelic therapy books into various languages. Kristina is also a classically-trained pianist and music teacher who loves to sing medicine songs while playing the ukulele. When not volunteering at festivals like Burning Man, she works at the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Kristina brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her talks, all delivered with a touch of humor and a lot of heart.

“The Warrior Monk Revisited”
By: Dave Wegbreit

A look at Jim Channon, the U.S. Army lieutenant who inspired the film Men Who Stare at Goats, his attempts to bring the New Age into the United States army, and the lessons we can learn from the last hundred years on how to do better together.

Dave Wegbreit contains nerdy multitudes. These days he helps teams develop business software and obsesses over processes and frameworks. In the past he has produced video games, covered the school bus industry as a journalist, and written and directed a take on Vagina Monologues about classic movie monsters.

Friends of the Show:

Beats by DJ&Jelly

Tarot by Beneficent Coach

The SF Public Library

Nerd Nite SF#143: Felines, Freedom, and Fairies

Come one, come all to our Juneteenth show on (when else?) Wednesday, June 19th at the Rickshaw Stop! We’ll be celebrating Black nerds in the Bay Area and their brilliant talks about the ecological chaos caused by domestic cats, the Blackness of birds, and the incredible legacy of the movie FernGully. Join us!

Tickets Here!

Tyus Williams – “Claws & Consequences: How Feline Frenemies Shape the East Bay Ecology”

Join Tyus at Nerd Nite’s Juneteenth show for a purrfectly quirky exploration into the ecological havoc wreaked by our beloved yet mischievous domestic cats in the East Bay. From prowling predators to cuddly companions, discover the untold tales of feline folly and their impact on local wildlife. Prepare for a whisker-twitching adventure filled with humor, insights, and a few surprise guests (no, not your cat)! Let’s unravel the mysteries of our furry friends and their pawprints on the environment. 

Tyus Williams is a third-year PhD candidate and NSF Fellow at UC Berkeley in the Schell and Brashares labs studying carnivore and spatial ecology. Currently, his work is on how the ecological impacts from free-roaming domestic cats in the East Bay might be facilitated by urban environments. Tyus is interested in how human-dominated landscapes may indirectly mediate collision within wildlife communities. He is the author of one of Kirkus Review’s ‘Best Picture Books of 2022 for Animal Lovers,’ A Day in the Life: Big Cats. Tyus is also a passionate science communicator, committed to engaging the public with inclusive efforts.*

Julian Nesbitt – “The Blackest of Birds: Waiting for the Moment to Arise”

About a decade ago, renowned Black birder and professor, J. Drew Lanham wrote ‘9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher.’ The rule that stuck out to Julian Nesbitt the most was #5: “Black birds — any black birds — are your birds…They’re largely ignored because of their ubiquity and often persecuted because of stereotypes and misunderstanding. Sounds like profiling to me.” This got Julian thinking, in what other ways can black birds, from red-winged blackbirds and others from the actual blackbird family, to corvids like crows and ravens, to nearly all species of penguin, relate to the Black human experience?  And what other birds can we claim as well? Come to Juneteenth Nerd Nite to find out.

In 2006, a young boy watched Animal Planet for the first time and discovered his passion for singing, and the rest was history. Nearly two decades later, Julian is showing no signs of recovering from the nature-lover bug that bit him. Between nature and the arts, an ecologist by day and performer by night, Julian has had plenty of opportunities to nerd out on these two areas of life. Julian, a Birding for Everyone Fellow in the Golden Gate Birding Alliance, has found a way to combine his Blackness with his passions and showcase his knowledge and talents while representing his roots. From classrooms at school, to hangouts with friends, even overseas and now here at Nerd Nite.*

Chelsea Connor – “For Our Children’s Children: The History, Natural History and Legacy of FernGully”

When FernGully: The Last Rainforest was released in 1992, it did what few other animated movies of its time did. It inspired young naturalists and conservationists. A departure from the Disneyfication of wildlife, with real world concerns and inspirations, FernGully is a cult classic. Join Chelsea on a journey through the rainforests of Australia, cataloging the creatures, themes, impact and Burlesque skeletons from a well woven tale that wants to help us save our planet.

Chelsea Connor is an award winning wildlife biologist who does it all. Drawing, painting, sculpting and writing (but not her thesis) to name a few. She is currently a graduate student at San Francisco State University and a Birding for Everyone Fellow through the Golden Gate Birding Alliance. When she is not co-hosting Nerd Nite, you can find Chelsea on social media, procrastinating, making funny birding videos and writing 20 tweet long threads at 4AM about her current hyperfixations.

Friends of the show:

Tarot by Ben Grandis

SF Public Library

UPDATE for Nerd Nite SF #142: New Speaker!

Our speaker Stepy Kamei will not be able to make it for this month’s show due to unforeseen circumstances; HOWEVER, the brilliant and generous Sahil Bansal will be stepping in to give a talk about SPACE, the celestial objects in it, and the people who have pursued them throughout history:

“Chasing Shadows – Tales of the Greatest(?) Eclipse Chasers”

From ancient civilizations to modern day American presidents, solar eclipses have fascinated us all. This talk is about those people who dared to go beyond the ordinary, running across the surface of the Earth in epic quests to chase our Moon’s shadow. Want to know about these fun/whimsical/ill-advised voyages and how they informed our modern sense of wonder and curiosity about space? Let’s dive right in! 

About Sahil:

Aside from being an amateur solar eclipse chaser, Sahil works by day trying to make the internet a better place as a product manager in cloud storage. You can talk to him about all that goes into orchestrating a synchronized dance of electrons to bring you cat videos anytime, anywhere. Care to become a fellow eclipse chaser? Come say hi!

Nerd Nite #142: Time, Tentacles, and Most Delicious Poison

Wednesday, May 22nd
7pm Doors
Tickets: $15

“Why time might be circular: A Linguistic Investigation”
By: Stepy Kamei
Using the text of Alice in Wonderland as a reference point, follow Stepy down the rabbit hole to investigate the very real possibility that time might actually be happening all at once. However, we can only perceive it as going forwards or backwards because of linguistic constraints. But … what would happen if we broke free from the constraints of language?

Stepy Kamei is a writer and podcast host who is equally passionate about three things: poetry, linguistics, and educating everyone within earshot about both of those things.

“Octopathos or, How to Draw an Octopus”
By: Sam Julian
Octopus bodies are about as far from human biology as it’s possible to be, and yet people still find them cute. How does this happen, and how can it be exploited to get people to care about ocean conservation? Cartoonist Sam Santos Julian will share his experience designing cartoon octopuses in his graphic novel Octopolis, how the principles of cartooning influence empathy in the reader, and —of course— how to draw an octopus.

Sam Santos Julian is a cartoonist and the creator of Octopolis, a graphic novel that he self-published this year. Sam studied Creative Writing at Stanford, and has worked as a game and product designer. Originally from San Diego, Sam now lives in Daly City with his partner and dog. He volunteers as a SCUBA diver at the SF Aquarium of the Bay, where he gets to feed the wolf eels, giant sea bass, and of course, the octopus.

“Most Delicious Poison”
By: Noah Whiteman
Scratch beneath the surface of a coffee bean, a red pepper flake, a poppy seed, a mold spore, a foxglove leaf, a magic-mushroom cap, a marijuana bud, or an apple seed, and we find a bevy of strange chemicals. We use these to greet our days (caffeine), titillate our tongues (capsaicin), recover from surgery (opioids), cure infections (penicillin), mend our hearts (digoxin), bend our minds (psilocybin), calm our nerves (CBD), and even kill our enemies (cyanide). But why do plants and fungi produce such chemicals? And how did we come to use and abuse some of them?

Noah Whiteman is an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Professor of Integrative Biology and of Molecular and Cell Biology. At Berkeley, he is also affiliated with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Center for Computational Biology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Jepson and University Herbaria, and Essig Museum of Entomology. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020 to write Most Delicious Poison.

We Are Delighted to Welcome Back Friends of the Show:
Beats by DJ and Jelly
SF Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis

NERD NITE SF #141: Changing Clothes, Climates, and… Birds?

Spring is in the air and with the changing of the seasons come deeper questions about what it means to “change.” Change can be as mundane as putting on new clothes – or as complex as getting into an elaborate cosplay. Change can be as world-spanning as human-made climate shifts or as subtle as evolutionary adjustments to the shape of a finch’s beak. Join us for a night of fascinating fun; to learn about how people, laws, and animals change and how you can be a change-maker too!

April 17th at the Rickshaw Stop

Doors at 7pm / Show at 8pm

Tickets Here! $10 Online / $15 Door

Foxy McQueen – “A Glimpse Into The World of Cosplay!”
A peek into the world of cosplay and all that goes into bringing your favorite characters to life! The word “cosplay” comes from a blend of two words: “costume” and “play.” Cosplayers buy or make their own costumes to pay tribute to their favorite characters (from anime, movies, video games, comics, etc) and wear them to conventions, movie premieres, and so much more! Some cosplayers use their craft as a profession, while most do it out of passion as a hobby. Come catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be a cosplayer!

Speaker Bio:
Foxy McQueen (@foxyscreamqueen) is a local California cosplayer and published model. She began cosplaying locally in 2017. Since then, Foxy has cosplayed as over 20 different characters from various different fandoms and has attended conventions all over California and occasionally out of state. She uses a combination of purchased items and crafting pieces to make her costumes. To Foxy, cosplay is more than just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Check her out on IG to follow her cosplay journey!

Sonja Chen – “Can Grazin’ Goats Solve California’s Climate Crisis?”
We’ve all heard that goat grazing helps fight California wildfires, but how feasible is the idea really? Behind those cute goats monching on the side of the road lies a complex economic and legal scheme that spans from the backcountry of the Sierra Nevadas to the mountains of Peru. We will explore the ways in which the structure of California’s goat grazing industry obstructs the state’s efforts to address climate change by restricting the growth of a sustainable vegetation management industry. You will never look at grazin’ goats the same way!

Speaker Bio:
Sonja Chen is a law student at UC Law San Francisco concentrating in social justice and dispute resolution. Spurred by unending curiosity, her wide range of hobbies and interests include urban farming, painting, reading creative nonfiction, swimming, and enjoying nature. She currently owns a boutique events business and an orange cat named Rory. Her favorite mathematical experience is the Fibonacci sequence and her favorite English word is juxtaposition. She is a Gemini and a Wood Dog.

Adan Deeb – “If You Give a Bird a French Fry: Urbanization’s Effects on Beaks of Darwin’s Finches”
We see birds eating things they shouldn’t eat almost daily. This quirky behavior of theirs is commonplace (and kind of cute). But what really happens when birds eat french fries, eggs, or tortillas instead of bugs and seeds? In this talk, we will try to understand one way that urban civilization affects how animals interact with their environment, and how that drives evolutionary change.

Speaker Bio:
Adan is a biologist passionate about environmental justice and equitable scientific education. She is an unapologetic nerd and spends her free time birding, reading, and consuming her body weight in coffee.

We are delighted to welcome our Friends of the Show:
Beats by DJ and Jelly
SF Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis

NERD NITE SF #140: Mind n’ Melodies March

Wednesday, March 20th

Rickshaw Stop – 1155 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Doors at 7

Tickets $10 presale / $15 door – Available Here!

They say that music soothes even the savage beast, and while we can’t vouch for any beast-related benefits, we are excited to welcome the brain-tingling Dan McCalley and Shell Space to the stage for this month’s Nerd Nite!


Dan McCalley – “A New Era in Mental Healthcare: Brain Stimulation Therapy for Addiction and Beyond”

A (brief) history of alcohol and drug use throughout human society, a look at our previous (not-so-great) attempts to treat addiction, and a final pitch for how brain stimulation may bring about a new era of medicine for addiction and beyond.

Bio: Dan McCalley, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford. His research focuses on developing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, an FDA-approved depression treatment, for addiction.

Shell Space (Band) – “Nerd Rock” 

A musical tour of nerdom, from literature to mathematics and everything in between.

Bio: Shell Space is a six-piece indie rock band birthed in Berkeley. Their songs reference Tilden Park, rectangles, and feldspar

Find Shell Space’s music here!

We are of course also thrilled to welcome back returning friends of the show:

  • DJ&Jelly spinning sweet beats
  • Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis
  • Friends from the SF Public Library